Comments: Week of May 10, 2021


“What Was the Office?” April 26–May 9

New York’s “Yesteryear” issue revived an annual tradition of marking the magazine’s birthday by celebrating and reconsidering a facet of New York City history. State Senator Alessandra Biaggi tweeted, “This is one of the *coolest* issues I’ve ever sifted through.” The New Yorker’s Rachel Syme commented, “I absolutely love a special issue, and this one on the history and fate of the office is no exception.” Martin Lieberman tweeted, “If you didn’t already miss working in an office, this amazing collection of articles in the new issue of @NYMag will surely change that … As Jack Shephard so famously said … We have to go back.” Other readers were less sentimental. Jeff Jarvis tweeted, “I try to forget.” Reader Jane Cutler Yepez wrote to the magazine, “Your issue on Remember the Office brought back startlingly vivid memories of New York office life in the ’70s. From being invited to lunch by a salesman at what was then Crowell Collier MacMillan’s ICS Division, telling me he would like to take me to lunch and then whispering in my ear that his intention was to ‘eat me,’ to sitting in a conference room as the only woman with 20 men, all of whom were smoking as I gasped for air. I’m glad that era is gone.” The mother of one longtime New York editor was particularly struck by the 1959 cover image of the Seagram Building because not only did she work in the building that year but her desk was in that precise spot, albeit on a different floor. “Second window in from the corner,” she says. She thought she recognized the window blinds and frames in our photo, but the real clincher was the vent near the floor: It was always blowing too hot or too cold, she recalls, and “we used to cover them up with manila folders.”


“Scott Rudin, As Told by His Assistants,” April 22

The special issue also featured excerpts from Vulture’s expansive report on the brutal working environment in Scott Rudin’s office, as recounted by 33 of his former employees. The story generated both praise for its reporting and outrage over the behavior depicted. Decider’s Anna Menta wrote, “Studios and A-list actors should be publicly saying they will never work with Scott Rudin again.” Screenwriter James Schamus added, “As this remarkable … piece about Scott Rudin’s assistants affirms, we knew that one reason we had such an incredibly hard time getting [The Assistant] financed and made was because it was about a lot more than Harvey Weinstein.” After the story was published, the Producers Guild of America condemned Rudin and formed a task force to address harassment in the industry, and the Actors’ Equity Association released a statement pressuring the Broadway League — the national trade association of theater owners, operators, general managers, and producers — to take action. On April 24, Rudin resigned from the organization.


100 Days That Reshaped America,” April 26–May 9

“The National Interest” columnist Jonathan Chait took stock of Joe Biden’s strategic dullness. University of Illinois political-science professor Nicholas Grossman tweeted, “We don’t know the ultimate effect of Biden’s boringness, but for now it’s made it harder for the GOP to mobilize against him … One way you can tell that Biden’s boringness is politically effective is his critics invent an Imaginary Biden to attack. But when people see that the Fox News Cinematic Universe version doesn’t match reality, the attacks don’t resonate outside the bubble.” The independent journalist Michael Tracey commented, “Culture War issues are still raging hot but they don’t revolve around Biden personally, which is a departure from at least his past four predecessors.” National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty pushed back, writing, “The reason Republicans can’t stop Biden is more that Republicans lost the Senate.” And podcast host Jody Avirgan challenged, “There’s a weird assumption in there that Trump wanted to actually accomplish stuff. It’s been very hard for some to keep in mind, and will get even harder as the Trump presidency recedes into memory: but this man wanted to tweet, be on TV, do rallies, pick fights, and get rich. That’s it. There was zero evidence of any actual priorities.”


“The End of Kimye’s Wild Ride,” April 26–May 9

In “The Culture Pages,” Allison P. Davis detailed the rise and fall of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s relationship. Gabby Birenbaum responded, “This is the definitive history of the most powerful celebrity couple of a generation.” Writer Moira Donegan said, “I loved this far-sighted, elegant, and moving piece on the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West divorce. It takes a lot to get me to empathize with such strange people.” And television writer Carey O’Donnell responded, “So good. Melancholy and tender! There will never be another Kamelot.”

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Comments: Week of May 10, 2021